Newton Aycliffe 2, Billingham Synthonia 0
By Joe Ramage
Newton Aycliffe booked their spot in the Buildbase FA Vase First Round seeing off Billingham Synthonia at the Beaumont Landscapes Stadium on Saturday.
Two early second half goals were enough to ensure Aycliffe progressed to the First Round for the first time in three seasons.
Jake Petitjean put the home side ahead when he converted from the penalty spot a minute after the restart before captain Aaron Brown bundled the ball over the line two minutes later to double Aycliffe’s lead.
The home side could have added to their lead later in the second half before Synners’ goalkeeper James Dawson was shown a straight red card in stoppage time by referee Guy Campbell for handling outside of the area.
There were three changes to the starting XI from Wednesday night’s draw at Guisborough Town with Aidan McGee replacing the cup-tied Callum Munro in the centre of defence and Lewis Walton making his first start since the First Qualifying Round of the FA Vase at left back.
Ben Reay came in for Adam Burnicle who was only fit enough to be named among the substitutes with Arran Wearmouth keeping his place in the line-up.
Kurtis Howes and Daniel Chapman led the line for the away side and it was the Synners’ who had the first effort of the game, firing over Adam Pickford’s bar inside the opening minute of the game.
Petitjean sent his freekick over the bar in the 17th minute as both sides continued to figure one another out.
Liam Jarvie came close to continuing his impressive run in front of goal of late after the half hour when he nipped past his man but fired into Dawson’s side netting.
Wearmouth’s pull back across the six yard box looked destined to be converted but there were no blue shirts to capitalise much to the strikers frustration.
Jarvie came even closer to the scoresheet in stoppage time when his strike was parried onto the post as Aycliffe finished the first half in the ascendency.
If head coach Colin Stromsoy wanted more from his players in the second half he got it inside 60 seconds of the restart when Wearmouth was sent tumbling in the area giving the referee little choice but to point to the penalty spot.
Petitjean was the man tasked with taking the spot kick and the midfielder made no mistake to score his fifth goal of the season – his second in the FA Vase.
Two minutes later and Aycliffe looked to have settled the tie when Brown climbed highest to meet Walton’s inviting freekick.
The skippers’ header came crashing back off the bar but he was able to react quickest and nudge the rebound over the line to double the lead.
Synthonia captain Foster Garton looked to rally his side and nearly got them back in the game when he found the side netting in the 55th minute.
Jarvie sent his volley wide just after the hour mark before dragging another effort wide minutes later as the scoresheet continued to evade him.
Aycliffe saw the game out against their Ebac Northern League Division Two opponents but there was still time in the 90th minute for Synners’ goalkeeper Dawson to receive his marching orders when he handled outside of the penalty area much to his own frustration.
The win ensures Aycliffe will be in the draw for the First Round of the FA Vase and extends their unbeaten run in all competitions to nine.